Foramen magnum position in bipedal mammals

Title

Foramen magnum position in bipedal mammals

Creator

Russo G A; Kirk E C

Publisher

Journal of Human Evolution

Date

2013
2013-11

Description

The anterior position of the human foramen magnum is often explained as an adaptation for maintaining balance of the head atop the cervical vertebral column during bipedalism and the assumption of orthograde trunk postures. Accordingly, the relative placement of the foramen magnum on the basicranium has been used to infer bipedal locomotion and hominin status for a number of Mio-Pliocene fossil taxa. Nonetheless, previous studies have struggled to validate the functional link between foramen magnum position and bipedal locomotion. Here, we test the hypothesis that an anteriorly positioned foramen magnum is related to bipedalism through a comparison of basicranial anatomy between bipeds and quadrupeds from three mammalian clades: marsupials, rodents and primates. Additionally, we examine whether strepsirrhine primates that habitually assume orthograde trunk postures exhibit more anteriorly positioned foramina magna compared with non-orthograde strepsirrhines. Our comparative data reveal that bipedal marsupials and rodents have foramina magna that are more anteriorly located than those of quadrupedal close relatives. The foramen magnum is also situated more anteriorly in orthograde strepsirrhines than in pronograde or antipronograde strepsirrhines. Among the primates sampled, humans exhibit the most anteriorly positioned foramina magna. The results of this analysis support the utility of foramen magnum position as an indicator of bipedal locomotion in fossil hominins. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Subject

Anthropology; australopithecus-africanus; basicranial flexion; Basicranium; condyles; Convergent; cranial base; energetic cost; evolution; Evolutionary Biology; hominids; Hominin; Locomotion; occipital; Orthogrady; pliopleistocene; postnatal-development; relative brain size; sahelanthropus-tchadensis; south-africa; Trunk posture

Format

Journal Article

Search for Full-text

Users with a NEOMED Library login can search for full-text journal articles at the following url: https://libraryguides.neomed.edu/home

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Pages

656-670

Issue

5

Volume

65

Citation

Russo G A; Kirk E C, “Foramen magnum position in bipedal mammals,” NEOMED Bibliography Database, accessed April 15, 2021, https://neomed.omeka.net/items/show/6978.

Social Bookmarking